Microsoft releases specs for the Outlook PST format

By on February 24, 2010, 1:17 PM
Following through with its previous plans, Microsoft has released the specifications for its Outlook PST data format. The company announced in October that it was working with industry experts to prepare the technical documentation. Said documentation was made available for download a few days ago. You can read the 200-plus-page PDF, or download a 102MB zip file with 35 total PDFs covering formats like DOC, DOCX, and XLS.

PST files are used to contain several types of data, including email, calendar, and contacts in Outlook Personal Folders. Microsoft's decision to open the format comes in the interest of supporting interoperability. It wants vendors and customers to be able to access the data in PST files on a variety of platforms, so developers can read, create, and interoperate the information stored within them.

User Comments: 6

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JudaZ said:

Microsoft is really improving every day.

.they are getting more open with their products ..I like the development so far..

ideal would if they open up everything, but of course they have to make money, not only for themselves but they also employ alot of people.....cant change the business modell and years of busdiness practicess over night. ..

DarkCobra DarkCobra said:

The .PST format has for a long time been very secretive and proprietary to MS. I think many of us would like to see the format open a bit further so that these files play nicer in the sandbox with other software and devices. Allowing other software and electronic devices to make use of these files would also benefit MS in the long run. This is a good step.

tengeta tengeta said:

Meh, Outlook still has the name Outlook, and unless its required someone I will not touch it.

Guest said:

Sad to see M$ open its formats and soft only when is being forced by growing open source alternatives...

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My first thought is towards security. Wouldn't this just hand the keys to spambot operators and allow them to craft better infections? It's like saying, go ahead and take my Outlook for a drive - here's all my co-workers, vendors, friends, and family and their legitimate email addresses. Oh, and here's some email content to fill your spam with.

Guest said:

I don't see how the file format itself could be a security issue, it doesn't process anything, that's the job of the Outlook and dependent Windows program files.

If there's something I'm missing, then I think real world examples (Firefox vs IE) have shown that an open format is not inherently less secure.

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